February 16, 2001
Document your complaint
Dear Ms. Sabety ["Punch"]:
There is not a day in the hallowed corridors of our schools that some kid
does not bully another one. While there are a ranger of permissible reactions
to this form of intimidation and harassment, I believe, you should be documenting
your talk with the school officials in writing, setting forth your complaints
against the students who bother your daughter, the teachers and administrators
to whom you have complained and their response, or lack thereof.
In a recent supreme court decision from the U.S. South, the school board
was found liable to the student and her parents for damages where the school
knew about harassment and neglected to act. You may want to consider to
complain to the local board of education, or consult an attorney in your
area if you think that a well-documented case exists.
It is the sort of racism or discrimination experienced at the grassroots
that should be brought to the attention of the judiciary in this country,
with the aim that perhaps one day the Justice Department's civil rights
division could classify the Iranians as a demonized and therefore protected
As it stands now, Iranians are not a constitutionally protected minority
and that makes anti-discrimination cases a difficult proposition. But the
harassment laws apply to all with equal force and within that context the
Iranianness of the victim should receive judicial notice as a contributory
cause to the harassment.